How often should you workout always depends on how active you’ve been up until now.
It’s easy for most of us to start out with a zeal and create problems for ourselves. However, doing too much too soon can lead to injury!
But to tell you the truth, it’s really some seriously sore muscles that sets us back when we workout too often.
In fact doing too much too often when you’re just starting can lead to not wanting to continue on with your workouts.
You don’t want to do either.
You don’t want to be sore with muscles on fire from lactic acid any more than you want to get over that and decide exercising with weights is just not for you?
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Here are 4 important areas to consider when it comes to how often to workout
1) Overall exercise frequency
This refers to the number of times total that you will work out in a week. It includes weight, cardio and muscle groups exercised.
When planning your workout frequency, keep this rule-of-thumb in mind: take one day off from all exercise and workouts each week to give your body time to recover and repair itself.
If not, you’ll significantly increase your risk for an injury; one that could sideline you for weeks if not months.
For most people new to exercising, working out three times a week – or every other – day is a good place to start.
Once you are more experienced, you can increase your workout time to five days per week and eventually six.
2) Weight training
The theory behind weight training is that it builds muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn – even at rest.
And we are not talking about building the same amount of muscle as you see in bodybuilders; just toning what you have with a small increase in size.
If just starting out, keep your weight training days to two per week. And never make your two days back-to-back. Your body needs at least one day in between weight training sessions to rest.
As time goes on, if you feel you need more weight training time, bump up your workouts to three or four times per week. By the time you have gradually worked your way up to 3 or 4 times a week you should be well aware of how often to work out and how often to rest.
3) Cardio training
The purpose of cardio training is to burn calories and to increase your breathing and heart rate. By being able to take in more oxygen and get it to the cells more efficiently, your body can create energy faster.
Personally, I like doing cardio on off days from weight training. This gives me the opportunity to get back to the gym, not to mention that by the time I’m through with weights, I’m too beat for cardio.
So do yourself a favor and alternate cardio and resistance training. If you can’t, be sure to do resistance first, or you won’t have enough energy to get any value from cardio.
4) Muscle group frequency
Different exercises work different muscle groups. When first starting out, you’ll want to work each muscle group once a week.
For example, your workout for one week could be:
- Monday: Chest and triceps
- Tuesday: Back and biceps
- Wednesday: off
- Thursday: Shoulders and abs
- Friday: Legs
- Saturday: off
- Sunday: off
The next week your schedule could look like this:
- Monday: Chest, shoulders and triceps
- Tuesday: off
- Wednesday: Legs and abs
- Thursday: off
- Friday: Back and biceps
- Saturday: off
- Sunday: off
On week three you would go back to the week one schedule. Then keep rotating through the two schedules alternating each week.
This is a good schedule to work with whether you’re aiming for mass and definition, or just want to get fit and tone up.
Keep in mind that the muscle groups worked could be either from cardio or weight training.
For example running or walking would work your legs, while swimming would also benefit your shoulders. Do a variety of both weight training and cardio to work each major muscle group evenly.
In the end “How often should you workout?” is going to depend on your own schedule, your own physical shape now, and how well you deal with sore muscles?
My best advice is to start slow, and finish strong!